tv Inside Story Al Jazeera October 21, 2015 2:00am-2:31am EDT
>> thank you for joining us. that's our show for today, i'm ♪ >> after almost a decade in charge, canada's conservatives were routed at the voting poot. prime minister stephen harper is out. and the liberal leader, justin trudeau will form a new government with an outright majority. what will that mean for america's biggest trading partner. head north, turn left. it's the inside story. ♪
welcome to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. canada's prime ministering stephen harper was trying to do something that hadn't been done in canada for more than a lek shin. he didn't. his conservatives took a drubbing in monday's national elections. in four eastern provinces, the party couldn't hold on to a single seat. harper will be replaced by justin trudeau, leader of the liberal party, son of a former canadian prime minister. 43, tell generic, and able to form a majority government. he told his supporters last change. >> canadians have spoken. you want a government with a vision and an agenda for this country, that is positive, and ambitious, and hopeful.
well, my friends, i promise you government. [ cheers and applause ] >> i will make that vision a reality. i will be that prime minister. [ cheers and applause ] >> and after his harsh rebuke from canada's voters stephen harper was philosophical. >> our country is one of the most enduring democracies in the world today. and today for the 42nd time in 148 years, canadians have chosen a national parliament. while tonight's result is certainly not the one we hoped for, the people are never wrong. >> harper has resigned as party head. the conservatives will have just 99 seats in a 338-seat parliament. john terrett joins us from toronto. welcome. now that the dust is clearing and people are
digesting the results, how do the leaders explain what happened. >> justin trudeau justifies his campaign as simply the best that could have been run. it was energetic, positive, all embracing, it was internet savvy, it attracted a lot of young voters. at one point trudeau himself called it a movement because he was successful. as for stephen harper, well, he ran pretty much a very negative campaign nflt it was divisive, and a lot of conservative voters abandoned him because of that. he has been in power for ten years as the prime minister, and there were a couple of issues canadians went too far on. one was anti-terrorism laws, and the wearing of face cover. harper wants women to remove their face cover.
and the new democrats, he justifies the results last night -- a very bad night for him. but don't write tom off. and the reason is, the ncp is the party that canadians credit for getting their universal health system up and running. and that's just the kind of issue that the ndp raises, those old trade union, socialist issues. they can't determine the direction of the bills, but they can raise them and get them on the table in parliament. so that's how they justified the result last night. >> it's all well and good to talk about optimism and togetherness, but was justin trudeau promising a different approach to governing the country, or was it really i'm not stephen harper. >> the last time i saw anything
like this was with margaret thatcher. she was very popular and eventually the english people wanted her gone. it's the same with harper. 60 to 70% of canadians said they wanted him out. and it turned out to be the liberals, and i think that justin trudeau was offering a sunny ways basically. he is a very attractive man, he has a very attractive wife, and the canadians just lapped it up, and he has the history of his father as well. a sunny ways, looking forward, young man campaign, alongside a man who was really, really disliked by many, many canadians. >> stephen harper in recent years put a lot of pressure on the obama white house to approve the keystone xl pipeline. is justin trudeau as committed
predecessor. >> there is another pipeline which canadians talk about all the time which would essentially take oil from the alberta region out to the pacific coast so they could sell it to china. he is not in favor of that. but he is in favor of the keystone pipeline, and that would bring him into odds with whoever is potentially a democratic candidate at the white house at the end of next year. but he has said, whilst i'm in favor of the pipeline, i will work with washington, d.c. to try to do the best we can to keep the environmental issues under control. >> john terrett good to talk to you. the relationship between the united states and canada is one of this country's most important bilateral relationships. is there a liberal party world view that will mean a shift on important issues between the two countries? head north, turn left, it's the inside story. ♪
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partnership co-signatory. canadian troops fought alongside americans in afghanistan, and stephen harper joined the coalition in syria and iraq in the air. will trudeau's liberals keep up the air strikes? what were the issues that canadians had on their mind when they headed to the polls yesterday. diane francis joins us now, she is editor at large of canada's national post. she is also the author of merger of the century, why canada and america should become one country. jeffery is former editor and chief journalist for cbc radio, and david is a political analyst and the vice president of citizens relations international. diane let me start with you. what were canadians arguing amongst themselves as election day approached?
it was very high turnout. >> it was a high turnout. it was pretty much a dead heat until the last couple of weeks when trudeau really pulled away from the pack. people were quite upset with steen harper. and canada is a country in the last 90 years the liberal party has dominated the prime minister's office. there have only been four elected conservative governments and only one has lasted more than one term as a majority. so this is liberal country, and they call themselves the rightful governing party of canada. and he was the perfect person. he was as your commentator today, positive, very attractive, and he is cloaked in a party that is a very trusted brand throughout canada and has been for a century or so. >> jeffery, i want to be careful and not overstate the family connections, but many americans will remember that pierre elliott trudeau was the prime minister of canada.
are those years remembered well? remembered fondly in the country so it would be an attribute for this young politician? >> it depends on what part of the country you are referring to. in western canada his name is revialed. in eastern and central canada, and parts of quebec, not all of it, he is really revered. so it was a mixed message that young trudeau had to carry, but he managed to establish his own viability through what was really a pretty terrific long campaign by canadian standards, but i don't think that there is a lot of love lost about his father, especially in parts of quebec where he invoked marshall law and brought in the army during the so-called october
crisis in 1970, and he created the national energy policy, which basically put the oil industry on its heels in western canada. reputation. >> david, as diane mentioned this election really tightened up pretty recently, but not only that, justin trudeau is a political n neofight. he is a newcomer, but also somebody who moved from third place to first place in just a space of weeks. yourself. >> i think in terms of the tenor of the election, if you look at the beginning of the campaign, the liberals were trailing, and it was only as we started to move into it, that it became a clear choice, that canadians that wanted a change were behind
the liberals, and justin trudeau ran a very effective campaign. and one of the things that played to his advantage is the conservatives ran a very aggressive series of attack ads, saying he wasn't ready for the job. and as canadiansot to know him, he really played against those perceptions and showed he was very capable of the job. he has been a parliamentarian since 2008. he got elected in a difficult race. he could have certainly ran in easier ridings, established himself as a constituent mp, but i think he is really coming to his own in this campaign. >> diane you mentioned at the outset that there have been very few conservative governments. and in fact, stephen harper in all of his races -- his party never even got 40% of the national vote.
so how did he manage to hang on so long, and did he really take the country in a new direction by hanging in there? >> well, i think that's a really good question. i think what american audiences don't understand is that the canadian system is a parliamentary system, and it's also a very fragmented country, politically speaking. there is five different political parties at any given time inside parliament. so stephen harper with 39% but in strategic places was able to keep a majority control of the country for as long as he did, that is not unusual. the last time any prime minister in canada's history in this past century got more than 50% popular vote was in 1947. it just doesn't happen. so it's very divided. so very often you look at the guy or gal who wins their riding, has had made the green party fight off with the
socialist party, or the socialist party fight the separatists party, or the separatists party fight the liberal party for the conservative to come up the middle. and that happened in the liberal writings, and the ndp victories. system. >> how does that play out regionally? does canada have still a strong and abiding rivalries and resentments between its regions? you hinted at that before. >> yes, i think there is some tension there. it's not the same tension as it was 20 years ago when there was a threat of separatism, there was a separatists government in the province of quebec. there were two referendums that barely went to the federalist side, so there were a couple of close calls. there's a strong sense of alienation in western canada, especially in alberta, which
sees itself much more as the american-style province or state than -- than other parts of any country. so yes, there are regional tensions and the challenge for any elected official, especially at the national level is to find a way to make those compromises that are necessary to keep the country going. >> when we come back, canada pointed with pride to the fact that its economy was not flattened by the global recession, that its financial institutions held firm during the international banking crisis, but now with household debt high, the price of oil low, and a slowing china, putting downward pressure on exports, is the new prime minister about to be handed a difficult few years in government. head north, turn left. it's the inside story. ♪
canada is huge. canada is rich. but it's home to a relatively small population, just behind algeria, just ahead of sudan, the country is home to roughly 1/2 of 1% of the world's people. it is an export champion, but also is vulnerable to bad times elsewhere, especially in the united states. is justin trudeau about to take power as canada wobbles. jeffery, diane, and david are still with me. david what do you think? a tough time to be getting the top job? >> well, i mean i think certainly, you know, if you look at the beginning of his campaign, it was announced that canada had just gone into a recession. and unquestionably there are economic difficulties. if you look at performance in places like alberta that are strongly impacted by oil prices. that's a challenge that the new
prime minister is going to have to face. and if the change in economic circumstances have impacted -- certainly the middle class where it has been felt the most, and that became a major wedge issue during this campaign. a key focus of the liberal platform was key incentives and tax breaks for middle class canadians, and i think you'll see in the next few weeks once a parliament is sitting again that that will be probably the first priority of the new prime minister is around taxation and some of those economic incentives really targeting middle-class canadians. >> and david if i say to somebody hey, how is the economy is it going to be a different answer are just as you might get a different answer in, you know, maine and south texas? >> i think it is. one of the biggest differences is amongst aboriginal canadians.
and that's the fastest growing portion of the canadian population. they are also the most economically disadvantaged. they are economically challenged right now, and certainly starting to address some of those programs is going to be a key thing for this government. if you saw average canadians and canadians being much more reserved. the national chief, normally remains outside of electoral politics was calling on people on reserve across cad da to get night. and you had reports on -- two ballots. >> stephen harper was reputed certainly on this side of the border not to have much time to discuss things like global climate change. is president obama going to find
a more receptive ear in ottawa for those concerns as we head towards the big paris conference this winter? >> yeah, the liberals have made it very clear that they want to make canada a much more activist country nationally. they feel that canada's reputation has been very seriously damaged by the harper government and its refusal to acknowledge climate change as a serious issue. other environmental issues. cap and trade, carbon taxes, all of these things have been part of the liberal mantra through the election and it found a very receptive response in the voters; that they felt that canada has become under the harper government a much -- kind of narrower and smaller country in the sense that it used to have a much more international reputation and outlook, and i
think that that's going to be restored by the trudeau liberals. >> diane what about security and external considerations, joining the americans in the war against isis in iraq and syria. is there much daylight between the departing conservatives and the newly arrived liberals? >> absolutely. in fact it was well before the campaign. i didn't track exactly what justin trudeau said during the campaign, but he ridiculed the sending of jets in syria and iraq, and so i think you'll see the canadian forces being pulled out of the air war. however, training and -- training boots on the ground won't -- will probably be bolstered to sort of offset how optically bad that looks in washington. and i would also agree with the previous speaker that trudeau will be more amenable to dealing
with the concerns that americans have on the environment when it comes to exports of oil sands. and that may help -- or may not -- it may not make any difference, but it may help get the key stone deal passed. and he may be green-minded but canada is -- is one of the biggest oil exporters on the world. it's in the dirty business of oil production, and exports, and our way of living very much depends on that. >> david, you are joining us from the west, right? you are out in western canada? >> i'm in vancouver. >> oil brought wealth, influence, power, growth to the oil patch in the west. now that oil has dropped to $40 a barrel, can the west sustain that? if we're in a cheap oil era that is going to go on for a couple of years, is it just -- is there a way to survive hard times out
there? >> well, i think if -- it's very much an issue that you are going to see the prime minister be very cognizant of. when we announced his environmental platform, he went out in calgary, an area where the liberals have not done traditionally very well electoral electorally, and made sure he is talking about responsible development. one of the interesting discusses you see happening in british columbia, there are three competing proposals to build oil refineries on the bc coast. and i think you will see more discussion around that as well. >> i want to thank all of my guests, jeffery is a former chief journalist for the cbc, diane francis, a editor at large for the national post, and david is vice president at citizens relations international.
i'll be back in a minute with a final thought on the true north, strong and free. stay with us, it's "inside story." and send us your thoughts on twitter or follow me and get in touch. or visit our facebook page. tell us what you think will change between the u.s. and canada with justin trudeauhas the country's new prime minister. we would love to hear it. >> welcome to al jazeera america. more reporters, more stories, more perspective. >> from our award-winning news teams across america and beyond. >> we've got global news covered.
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